4 Tips for Effective MBWA in Manufacturing

posted on: Friday May 1, 2015

How manufacturing managers can use management by walking around to be more efficient

uspo Load MoverManagement by walking around (MBWA) is a concept made popular by the 1982 bestseller In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman. It’s simply an up-close and personal style of management. Its effects are extremely beneficial.

Interacting with employees via MBWA generally improves morale, productivity, and employees’ opinion of their superiors. In manufacturing, it can have a significant impact on the bottom line. Some of the benefits of MBWA for manufacturers include:

  • Reduced problems – Managers can quickly identify bottlenecks, hazards, and other issues that need immediate attention. These problems can be solved on the spot to avoid further consequences and keep production moving.
  • Employee follow-through – Talking one-on-one with employees increases their accountability.
  • Improved safety – When a manager is present, employees remain conscientious of procedures and other proper handling.
  • Better communication – MBWA fosters trust and openness with employees. They will be more likely to express their ideas as well as trust your judgment.

With production workers doing so many physical jobs that demand precision and focus, manufacturers will approach MBWA a little differently than managers in other industries. Here are some tips on how to make this concept the most effective:

  1. Make it routine, yet varied. Make a habit of fitting a walk in every day, but vary the times you carry this out. If people know when you’re coming, it defeats part of the purpose of the walk.
  2. Visit everyone. It’s important that you not only see where everyone is at, but also that it doesn’t look like you’re either playing favorites or checking up on a select few.
  3. Get feedback, take suggestions, and follow up. What you see on your walk every day won’t give you the whole picture. You need to see the jobs through your employees’ eyes and acknowledge their ideas for improvement.
  4. Pitch in. Jump in and work along side of your employees. MBWA isn’t just for upper management. Production supervisors are management and are often instrumental in keeping product moving efficiently. One way to help is for the manager to get involved with movement of product with the help of a power tug or cart pusher. With a walk-behind powered tug, the manager is at the save level and working alongside the production workers. Dialog with efficiency improvements can be discussed while accomplishing tasks.

If you want to make MBWA more efficient, effective, and productive in your manufacturing facility, contact Load Mover Inc. about our powered tugs. We build durable equipment that makes pushing and pulling safe, ergonomic, and efficient. Contact us at 952-767-1720 or info@loadmoverinc.com.